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Bipartisan Bill Seeks LGBTQ Housing Protections

Brad Schneider

The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 would protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

New legislation could extend housing protections to LGBTQ individuals nationwide.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat, Tuesday introduced legislation to extend consistent nondiscrimination rules. The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 would cover sexual orientation and gender identity the same as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability.

"No American should face discrimination finding a home because of who they are or who they love," Schneider said in a press release.

"Yet the majority of states still have no laws prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I am proud to lead this long overdue bipartisan bill to extend federal protections to ensure all LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples can access housing without prejudice. I am also pleased that these important housing protections were incorporated into the Equality Act, and I look forward to voting on this anti-discrimination package soon."

The bill boasts bipartisan support already, with U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, both Republicans, offering support from across the aisle.

"Housing discrimination and prejudice of any kind, towards anyone, is wrong," said Brooks. "It is a fundamental American value enshrined in our Constitution to ensure equal protection under the law for all people in our country, including when purchasing or renting property. I am proud to lead this common-sense, bipartisan bill, the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019, so that anyone, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial status and national origin is treated fairly and equally under the law as they buy or rent a place to call home."

"LGBTQ Americans are part of the fabric of our society and should be free to exercise the rights guaranteed to every American by the Constitution to participate fully in our society and pursue every opportunity," added Fitzpatrick. "This legislation will protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity because discrimination against the LGBTQ community is an injustice which must end."

U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, a Virginia Democrat, also cosponsored the legislation along with Brooks and Fitzpatrick.

"LGBTQ Americans should be able to rent or buy a home without fear of discrimination because of who they love or how they identify," said Wexton. "Passing this legislation will put an end to the inadequate patchwork of protections that exist across America. Equality doesn't stop with marriage--this bipartisan bill will help ensure LGBTQ Americans are fully protected under the landmark Fair Housing Act."

Extending civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals has enjoyed bipartisan support for years, but such legislation never moved in a Republican-controlled House. Democrats won control of the chamber after a blue wave election in November.

Protections against housing discrimination are also part of the Equality Act, a broad LGBTQ civil rights bill introduced in the House this year.

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